16 November 2022

It Looks Like We Won’t Die This Week

The Range of a 5V55 Missile

The debris appears to be from an 5V55 missile a part of the S-300 SAM system

As you may have heard, a missile struck the village of Przewodów in Poland, about 6 km from the border with the Ukraine, and killed two people. 

Initial reports, most notably a very dubiously sourced AP story, ("A Senior U.S. intelligence official") stated that the missile, a component of the SA-300 surface to air missile system (NATO designation SA-10 Grumble, SA-12 Giant/Gladiator, and SA-20 Gargoyle)  was almost certainly fired by Russia.

The missile in question, from the debris pictures, is a 5V55 which can be fired in surface to surface mode, and has a range of 150 km, which means that the only place under any semblance of Russian control is a small corner of Belarus.

As the missile fell during a substantial Russian attack on Ukrainian infrastructure, the most likely explanation is that this was an errant missile from the Ukrainian air defense systems, while the second most likely explanation would be a Russian SSM similarly going off course.

A deliberate Russian strike, which might invoke NATO Article 5, and hence a direct military confrontation between NATO, including the United States, and Russia, was the least likely scenario.

Well, this morning, Polish President  Andrzej Duda stated that it was almost certain that it was a Ukrainian SAM that struck the village.

This means that today, at least, we are not going to war with Russia, and the possibility of a nuclear exchange between nations possessing the world's two most powerful nuclear arsenals is less than it was 12 hours ago.

I probably should have posted this last night, my guess at the time was an errant SAM, but it was late, I was tired, and I figured that we would get more information in the next 24 hours.

Just a note:  This situation is far more volatile, and far more dangerous, than what we see in Western (or for that matter, Russian) media.

If this goes really pear shaped, we could see a nuclear exchange.


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